I heard the news yesterday. The funeral is tomorrow. I’ll be on the road.
She was the mother of a girl I once dated. She never let me forget that. Every time she saw me, she waved and greeted me. I never saw her without a smile. Living in a small town, we crossed paths several times a year. She said something to me. Every time.
Miss Bonnie was a kindergarten teacher. More than 30 years worth.
She turned ninety-five this past year.
I don’t do much math. If she had just 20 five year olds a year, she taught 600 kids to count, to know the difference between red, green, blue and yellow. I’d bet the number is closer to a thousand. Imagine teaching a thousand kids the ABCs.
She made them drink their milk and eat their cookies. She taught them to say Yes Mam, No Mam, Yes Sir and No Sir. They learned to say Please, Thank You and You’re Welcome.
They stood up and sang round-about songs. She took them on field trips. She opened their eyes. Miss Bonnie made sure her kids knew something of the world they were about to see.
Every class started with a prayer and the pledge of allegiance to the flag. She laid a foundation for good kids to became good people.
That was a way of life back then.
I barely remember my Kindergarten teacher. I definitely recall my first grade teacher.
I think of her often. Mrs. Watson. She was about ninety, I think. Of course, I was a six year old and everyone with gray hair was about ninety. Mrs. Watson taught us all that we could handle. All that first grade stuff we needed before the second grade.
And, she read to us.
Every day, after lunch, we sat in a circle. The book was thicker than my hand was wide. Gray, old, maybe ninety years old too. It had a special place in the bookshelf.
No pictures, a thousand pages of words. It smelled. Musty. Old paper. Or maybe just old stories hidden inside.
Mrs. Watson read to us snot-nosed first graders. She opened our eyes with stories of Roman and Greek mythology. She may have added a few words here and there.
She made an impression. She made us want to learn.
Medusa scared the living daylights out of me. Mercury had more freedom than anyone in the world. He could fly! Thor and Zeus have both been a part of my memories for more than sixty years.
Back to Miss Bonnie. She was like that. She taught because she wanted to, not because she had to. She taught because she loved her kids. She was their first step. Bonnie’s kids were loved. They knew it.
Thank you Miss Bonnie. I wish you had been my Kindergarten teacher.
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